Columbus photog on Terrelle Pryor: ‘I haven’t given him a dollar’

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Even as the career of Terrelle Pryor at Ohio State came to an abrupt end earlier this week, the soap opera that was the quarterback’s three years in Columbus continues unabated.

A former, unnamed friend of Pryor alleged on an ESPN Outside the Lines report Tuesday, the same day Pryor announced he was giving up his final season of eligibility, that he had witnessed Dennis Talbot paying Pryor anywhere between $20,000 and $40,000 in 2009-10 in exchange for Pryor’s signature on various pieces of OSU memorabilia.  In an interview with the Cleveland Plain Dealer Thursday, the Columbus photographer/purported memorabilia maven vehemently denied that he had paid anything to the player, let alone an amount the five-figure numbers thrown out by OTL.

“They are potentially destroying people’s lives,” Talbott told Doug Lesmerises of the Plain Dealer over the phone. “It’s not true. I haven’t given him a dollar. I haven’t given him anything perceived as an improper benefit.”

In an interview Thursday on Sirius/XM in which he hinted at possible legal action against ESPN for what he described as a “bogus” report, Pryor’s attorney, Larry James, said that he knew Talbott but that the “part-time photographer… is not a deep-pocket player.”

“This is out of his league, he doesn’t have that kind of cash,” James said yesterday. “He is not one of those dealers that one would say ‘Dennis has the ability to negotiate the buying and selling of memorabilia that Terrelle has signed.’  No, Dennis was a part-time photographer that knew a lot of the players, guy around town, most of us knew him.  He was basically harmless, he is no big deal, and he definitely did not have the wherewithal to do that kind of stuff.”

Talbott concurred with James’ assessment of him as a small-time player.

“I don’t have the wherewithal to do that,” Talbott told the paper. “I just don’t. …

“I have never made it a secret that Terrelle and I have a relationship. I’d like for people to show a picture of me pulling out my wallet or putting something on my tab. These things don’t exist. People say things that aren’t accurate.”

The dogged and tireless Brooks of SportsByBrooks.com, who reported earlier in the week that checks with Talbott’s name on them had been deposited into Pryor’s bank account, reported early Friday morning that a now-defunct, unregistered-in-the-state-of-Ohio website called varsityomem.com had been selling signed OSU memorabilia — including Pryor items — going back several years.  A “Varsity O Memorabilia” Facebook page, last updated two months ago Brooks writes, “features some of the product procured by Talbott over the years from dozens of Buckeye football and basketball players.”  According to Brooks, Talbott was the only registered owner of the varsityomem.com website.

Additionally, the Plain Dealer reported that Pryor and another unnamed Buckeye football player had in the past played golf on at least five occasions with Talbott at a Columbus-area country club.  Because of Talbott’s membership at the club, Pryor and the unnamed player were permitted to play for free, which would constitute impermissible benefits and an NCAA violation.

That’s not exactly the way Talbot sees it, however.

Talbott said he did not golf with the players that many times, adding, “Even if I golfed with him, it’s not an NCAA violation.” Talbott said he never paid for any players to golf with him.

Finally, and something that may or may not be apropos of anything, Talbott drives around in a Buckeyes-themed vehicle with vanity plates that read… wait for it… “T PRYOR”.

Now, I don’t know the extent of Talbott’s relationship with Pryor or if any NCAA violations were committed because of the relationship, but I do know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that a 40-year-old, grown-ass man willingly driving around with a college football player’s name on his license plates pegs and obliterates the “creepy” meter.

College Football in Coronavirus Quarantine: On this day in CFT history, including Steve Spurrier predicting Tim Tebow will ‘do super’ in the NFL

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The sports world, including college football, has essentially screeched to a halt as countries around the world battle the coronavirus pandemic. As such, there’s a dearth of college football news as spring practices have all but been canceled at every level of the sport. And there’s even some concern that the health issue could have an impact on the 2020 college football campaign.

In that vein, we thought it might be fun to go back through the CollegeFootballTalk archives that stretch back to 2009 and take a peek at what transpired in the sport on this date.

So, without further ado — ok, one further ado — here’s what happened in college football on May 27, by way of our team of CFT writers both past and present.

(P.S.: If any of our readers have ideas on posts they’d like to read during this college football hiatus, leave your suggestions in the comments section.  Mailbag, maybe?)

2019

THE HEADLINE: Report: Bru McCoy re-transferring from Texas back to USC
THE SYNOPSIS: The five-star 2019 prospect signed with USC.  Then transferred to TexasThen moved back to the Trojans.

2018

THE HEADLINE: Proposed California amendment would cap coaches salaries at $200,000
THE SYNOPSIS: LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL…

2017

THE HEADLINE: WATCH: FCS player paralyzed in 2015 game vs. Georgia walks
THE SYNOPSIS: Southern’s Devon Gales is such an inspirational story.

2016

THE HEADLINE: Art Briles’ daughter calls firing ‘outrageous’ and ‘disgusting’ in Facebook post
THE SYNOPSIS: Oddly enough, outrageous and disgusting described the scandal that cost her father his job at Baylor.

2015

THE HEADLINE: Amidst controversy, Dabo Swinney cancels planned appearance
THE SYNOPSIS: The Clemson coach was caught up in an LGBT kerfuffle.

2014

THE HEADLINE: Bill Hancock says CFB Playoff not expanding past four teams
THE SYNOPSIS: Six years later, momentum is building for expansion.

2012

THE HEADLINE: Michigan commit burns Buckeyes recruiting literature
THE SYNOPSIS: The Greatest Rivalry In All Of Sports knows no offseason.

2009

THE HEADLINE: Spurrier On Tebow & The NFL: ‘He’ll Do Super’
THE SYNOPSIS: Was the Ol’ Ball Coach correct?  Let’s go to the Tale of the Statistical Tape:

GAMES: 35
ATTEMPTS: 361
COMPLETIONS: 173
COMPLETION PERCENTAGE: 47.9
PASSING YARDS: 2,422
PASSING TOUCHDOWNS: 17
INTERCEPTIONS: 9
YARDS PER ATTEMPT: 6.7
PASSER RATING: 75.3

Middle Tennessee State brings back ex-Blue Raiders RB Shane Tucker as grad assistant

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There will be a very familiar face in the Middle Tennessee State football building when the Conference USA school reconvenes.

Memorial Day, Middle Tennessee State announced that Shane Tucker has been added to the extended football staff.  Specifically, Tucker will serve as a graduate assistant for Rick Stockstill.  Tucker will work on the offensive side of the ball for the Blue Raiders.

From 2013-2017, Tucker was a running back at MTSU.  And a wide receiver as well.

In 39 appearances, Tucker started 17 of those games.  He started contests in 2013 (three), 2014 (two), 2015 (four) and 2017 (eight).  The Memphis native’s 2016 season ended before it started because of an offseason injury.

During his time in Murfreesboro, Tucker ran for 1,162 yards and 15 touchdowns on 271 carries.  He also caught 67 passed for 869 yards and another seven touchdowns.

In 2014, Tucker earned honorable mention All-Conference USA honors.  As a fifth-year senior in 2017, he was named a permanent captain.

Middle Tennessee State is coming off a 4-8 2019 football campaign.  That was the program’s worst record since going 2-10 in 2011.  MTSU also saw its school-record streak of bowl appearances end at four in a row.

One of the players Tucker Will Likely work with?  Martell Pettaway.  The West Virginia running back transferred to the Conference USA school in January.

Ex-Georgia State RB Gerald Howse, 28, found dead in his home

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Georgia State is mourning the loss of a member of its football family.

Sunday, Georgia State announced the passing of former Panther football player Gerald Howse.  Howse was just 28.

According to one report, Howse was found dead at his home in Cookeville, Tenn.  A cause of death has not yet been released.

From GSU’s release:

Howse, from Murfreesboro, Tenn., and Siegel High School, lettered at running back for the Panthers in 2013-14 after transferring from NE Oklahoma A&M.

After graduating with his degree in sociology, he entered the coaching profession, beginning with stints at Oklahoma Baptist (2015) and NE Oklahoma A&M (2016-19). He was honored as the NJCAA Top Assistant Coach in 2017.

In January of 2020, Howse was named as the running backs coach at Tennessee Tech of the FCS.  The football program’s head coach, Dewayne Alexander, released a statement addressing his assistant’s passing as well.

Gerald was a first-class young man. He was highly thought of by so many people. His coaches at Siegel High School – Greg Wyatt and David Watson – always brought him up whenever we had positions come open. He displayed a very positive attitude. He was a man of character who lived out faith, family and football. He was so close to his family – his mom, dad and sister – that it was one of the biggest reasons he came here to Tennessee Tech: coach in the area, be back in Middle Tennessee and be close to his family. He was an outstanding coach and a man every coach would want on his staff. Gerald made a huge impact on our players in the short time he was here. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends, as well as the Tennessee Tech football family. Anytime you lose a staff member, it affects a lot of people.

Pac-12 targets June 15 for return of players for voluntary in-person workouts

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The Pac-12 is the latest to contribute to the measured return of college football.

Last week, the NCAA announced that it would allow schools to bring its student-athletes back to campus for voluntary workouts starting June 1. Friday, the SEC announced that it will allow players to return starting June 8.  That same day, the Big 12 announced its target date is June 15.

Monday, the Pac-12 followed the Big 12’s lead, with that Power Five confirming a return date of June 15 for voluntary in-person athletic workouts. The league came to its decision to allow student-athletes to return to campus following a meeting of the Pac-12 CEO Group earlier in the day.

The conference also made sure to note in its release that the universities will “determine whether and how to open its sporting facilities in accordance with relevant county and state guidelines.”

“As educational institutions, our highest obligation is to the health and welfare of our students, faculty, and staff,” said Pac-12 CEO Group Chair and University of Colorado Boulder Chancellor Philip DiStefano in a statement. “As we considered the pros and cons of taking steps that can pave a path to returning to play, those considerations were foremost, guided by the advice of our own medical experts along with public health officials.”

“The Pac-12 is committed to the well-being of our student-athletes, and the decision to allow for voluntary workouts, subject to a determination by each school, is guided by the advice of our medical experts and will be supported by the detailed protocols established by our medical advisory committee in concert with our campus’ own safety guidelines,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott. “As states have either already opened or begin to open up access to parks, gyms and other training facilities, student-athletes should have the option at this time to be in, what for many, will be a much safer environment on campus, where they can have access to the best available health, well-being and training support.”

The ACC and Big Ten are the only Power Fives to not announce a uniform plan for a return.  Both Ohio State and Illinois, though, will allow players to return June 8, for example.  Ditto for Clemson and Louisville as well.